Manipur Imposes Indefinite Curfew in Jiribam After Brutal Killings

Manipur Imposes Indefinite Curfew in Jiribam After Brutal Killings

Manipur’s Jiribam district is now under an indefinite curfew following a surge in violence after the beheading of a local resident, S Saratkumar. Saratkumar’s body was discovered on Thursday after he had been reported missing, leading to heightened tensions and subsequent violent incidents in the area.

The tragic discovery prompted a mob to set fire to three abandoned villages belonging to the Kuki-Zo community. In a retaliatory attack, two Meitei community members in Leishabithol and Jiribam were reportedly targeted and their homes set ablaze by Kuki militants. These attacks have left the community on edge, with local residents demanding the return of licensed arms seized during the election period.

Authorities, in an attempt to prevent further violence, imposed the curfew and handed back the confiscated arms to their respective owners following due procedures. Many Kuki-Zo residents who had recently returned to their homes in Jiribam have fled again to safer areas within the district and neighboring Assam.

The unrest in Manipur has been ongoing since May 3 of the previous year, with clashes between the Kuki-Zo and Meitei communities resulting in at least 225 deaths and displacing around 50,000 people. Many displaced individuals continue to live in relief centers.

The Kuki Inpi Jiribam-Tamenglong-Noney (KIJTN), a leading body representing the Kuki community, has condemned Saratkumar’s murder and called for the swift arrest of those responsible. They also demanded the release of L Thianmuang, a Kuki resident abducted from his home by unknown individuals in black outfits.

On Friday, despite the curfew, gunfire was heard near Jiribam town. Local volunteers fired warning shots to deter potential Kuki militant attacks. Additionally, the Kuki National Front-Military Council (KNF-MC) distanced itself from Thongminthang Haokip, who was arrested at Imphal airport by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA claimed Thongminthang admitted to being a member of KNF-MC and the United Tribal Volunteer (UTV), but the militant group denied any association.

Further violence erupted in the Meitei village of Sekmai, located about 25 kilometers from Imphal, where suspected Kuki militants launched a bomb attack on Meitei laborers working in the Sekmai River. The laborers managed to escape unharmed as the attack, which included several rounds of gunfire, unfolded.

In response to these incidents, Manipur police have heightened security measures across the affected areas to prevent further escalation. The ongoing violence highlights the deep-rooted tensions between the communities and the urgent need for peace and reconciliation in the region.

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